Making your own butter at home is the ultimate homemade foodie goal! Making personal spice mixes or even making homemade mayonnaise is already pretty good but butter is on another level altogether. I don’t care if you call me old-fashioned, I will not stop making my own butter at home. Once you try it once you will never go back to buying from a store.
Real butter has a gorgeous yellow color and making your own is how you can be sure that what you are eating is indeed real traditional butter. And as another bonus, you also get some natural buttermilk in the process.
Making butter has this image of heavy churning that tires out the arms and causes your muscles to be sore for weeks. But after experiencing it for myself, I need to say that this image is heavily overrated. Sure, there are easier foods to make than butter but it is nowhere as hard as I imagined it to be. If you give it a try, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at your own strength!
Making Butter and Buttermilk
So how do you even make butter? Well, first you need some good quality cream. It can be made with regular whipping cream from a supermarket but if you have a dairy source nearby then I highly recommend you ask around your local farmers if they can sell you some raw cream.
The basic process of making butter is pretty straightforward. If you whip the cream long enough then eventually it will separate into two different textures: solid butter and liquid buttermilk. You will need to press the butter so that all the buttermilk comes out of it and you will be left with two very useful ingredients. See, doesn’t seem so hard, right?
If you use grass-fed cream then your butter will have that beautiful yellow coloring I was talking about. This means that the butter is rich in the vitamin K2 that’s found in fat. As long as your cream was grass-fed, you will get the vitamin K2. It doesn’t matter if the cream was raw or not. Vitamin K2 doesn’t break down when heated. So even if you use your butter to bake a cake or cookies, you will not lose those precious vitamins. You can read more about it in “On the Trail of the Elusive X Factor: A Sixty-Two Year Mystery Finally Solved”. As the author says:
“There are two natural forms of vitamin K: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1, also called phylloquinone, is found in the green tissues of plants, tightly embedded within the membrane of the photosynthesizing organelle called the chloroplast. As the chlorophyll within this organelle absorbs energy from sunlight, it releases high-energy electrons; vitamin K1 forms a bridge between chlorophyll and several iron-sulfur centers across which these electrons travel, releasing their energy so that the cell can ultimately use it to synthesize glucose. . When animals consume vitamin K1, their tissues convert part of it into vitamin K2, which fulfills a host of physiological functions in the animal that we are only now beginning to understand. The ability to make this conversion varies widely not only between species but even between strains of laboratory rats, and has not been determined in humans. The mammary glands appear to be especially efficient at making this conversion, presumably because vitamin K2 is essential for the growing infant. Vitamin K2 is also produced by lactic acid bacteria, although bacteria produce forms of the vitamin that are chemically different from those that animals produce, and researchers have not yet established the differences in biological activity between these forms.”
The beautiful thing about this recipe is that you can customize your butter however you want! I usually add just a pinch of sea salt to mine but you might as well add some herbs or even honey.
- two large bowls
- a large strainer
- a stand mixer OR a blender
- a dishcloth
- 1 quart of grass-fed cream at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt (or more, if you like your butter really salty!)
- Pour the cream into your mixing bowl and start mixing it using your stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Start with low speed.
- You can gradually increase the speed to medium but make sure the cream doesn’t splash.
- The liquid will start bubbling and then it will get frothy. After that, it’ll thicken as if you were making whipped cream. That’s when you should add the salt.
- The liquid will go back to thin again and start appearing grainy due to the fat in the cream clumping.
- The clumps will separate from the liquid all together and form one big clump of butter. That’s how you will know your butter is almost done. The color should also start deepening and turning yellow.
- Now it’s time to take out the strainer. Put the strainer over another bowl and slowly pour the contents of your first mixing bowl inside. The buttermilk should go right through to the bottom and the butter will be left on the strainer.
- Press down on the left butter to release more buttermilk.
- Once you think you have done all the pressing you can, rinse your clump of butter under cold water in the sink. Try pressing down some. You are likely to see some buttermilk come out. Keep pressing until the liquid that comes out is clear.
- Wrap your butter in a dishcloth and squeeze it. The dishcloth will act like a strainer and this way you should get the last drops of the buttermilk out.
- Unwrap the butter and start admiring the fruit of your labor!
- Keep the butter in the fridge to prolong its freshness. Save the buttermilk for baking, making pancakes, or just drinking!